Viscount is still quite new to the New Zealand market, but early feedback is very favourable from those farmers who have already sowed this exciting new tetraploid perennial ryegrass.
They’re impressed with its early spring growth, overall yield and high quality. In the South Island, it has quickly superseded its predecessor Bealey in the diploid/tetraploid pasture mix of choice, namely Trojan/Viscount.
Viscount was bred to give farmers high ME feed when they really need it, during calving.
It has been a standout performer in the Agriseeds plant breeding programme, and is an exciting opportunity for any farmers looking to offset their traditional spring feed deficit with more high quality home grown pasture.
Feed grown at this time of the year is typically the most valuable of the entire season – on dairy farms, extra grass coinciding with calving in early spring has been valued at an average of 46c/kg DM in the DairyNZ Forage Value Index.
Just as importantly, cows love Viscount. It has the excellent palatability of a tetraploid; clover-friendly upright growth for ease of harvest, and high quality with reduced aftermath heading.
Mixing it with Trojan gives a great pasture - denser and more robust than a straight tetraploid, with much better palatability than a straight diploid.
On dairy farms, Viscount and Trojan combined provide an easy-to-manage pasture during periods of fast growth. That’s because this mix remains palatable even at relatively high covers (e.g. 3500-3600kg DM/ha), unlike diploids, which become hard to graze well and evenly at covers over 3200kg DM/ha.
After lots of testing, we advise sowing about 15kg/ha Viscount (half of the recommended 30kg/ha) plus 10kg/ha Trojan (half of the recommended 20kg/ha).
Sown with Kotare and Weka white clovers this mix gives the balance of palatability and persistence to improve profitability across many situations.